In today’s interconnected world, smartphones are more of a necessity than a luxury. However, securing top-tier performance doesn’t necessarily mean burning a hole in your pocket. The smartphone market is replete with budget phones that deliver excellent functionality without compromising on quality.
Here’s a curated list of the best budget smartphones of 2023 to help you make an informed decision. Note that while flagship features may be absent, these budget warriors don’t skimp on essentials like camera quality, battery life, and processing speed.
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What Counts as a Budget Smartphone in 2023?
With the most expensive flagship phones, phablets and foldables costing up to £2,000, these days a ‘budget’ phone can be considered any phone less than £500. In this list, we’ve restricted our picks to models that we have available for £300 or less, and we’ve made sure that we have a selection of the best budget phones available for under £100.
These phones usually won’t have the most special features, such as wireless charging or 4K video recording, but other than that, modern phones typically share all the most important features as standard. Older phones won’t always be 5G compatible, but almost all phones released in the last year are 5G-ready.
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Saving Money by Buying Refurbished
Refurbished phones can be much cheaper than brand new, depending on the age and condition of the device. A mobile phone in “Pristine” condition will have no visible marks except on very close inspection, whereas a phone in “Good” condition may have obvious signs of use. Note that these are only cosmetic conditions: all refurbished phones sold by The Big Phone Store have passed Phonecheck certification and are fully working.
Quick Look: Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Budget Smartphone
- Best budget smartphone overall: Google Pixel 6a
- Best budget smartphone under £100: Oppo A53
- Best budget smartphone on iOS: iPhone SE 2022
- Best budget smartphone for excellent battery life: Motorola Moto G50
- Best cheap Android phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
In Detail: The Best Budget Smartphones To Buy In 2023
1. Google Pixel 6a: The Best Budget smartphone
Our Price: £239 (Like New) – £180 (Good)
When it comes to budget smartphones, Google’s Pixel line is always in the conversation. The Pixel 6a offers an excellent camera setup, typically unmatched in this price range, and provides the stock Android experience many users crave. Add in guaranteed software updates, and you have a budget phone that’s aged gracefully. Save even more money on your Google Pixel 6a by buying a refurbished model.
Looking for the latest cheap phone from Google? We also stock the recently-released Google Pixel 7a.
Google Tensor – The Pixel 6A is powered by Google’s very own AI-enhancing processor. This chip puts more power into your photos and voice recognition.
Adaptive Battery – Using Google’s Adaptive Battery technology, the 4,300mAh battery in the Google Pixel 6a promises to give up to 24 hours’ battery life on a single charge.
Built for Google – Google Pixel phones integrate flawlessly with their own suite of apps. Easily remove unwanted objects from your images with Magic Eraser.
Pocket Friendly – With a 6.1″ screen, the 6a isn’t a tiny phone – but compared to the behemoths it was launched alongside, it’s definitely the “slim and lite” version of a modern flagship phone.
2. Oppo A53: The Best Budget smartphone under £100
Our Price: £105 (Like New) – £90 (Pristine)
Released in 2020, the Oppo A53 is a budget phone that in 2023 is available for an extremely low price. Despite its ultra-low cost, the A53 is packed with features like a quick-refresh screen and advanced image processing
Triple rear camera – a 13MP main camera, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth camera. Additionally, the phone offers a 16MP front-facing camera that promises detailed selfies every time.
90hz display – This quick-refreshing display brings to life any motion-graphics you want to view, making it a great fit for mobile gaming.
Processor – The Oppo A53 features the highly efficient Qualcomm SM4250 Snapdragon 460 processor.
Storage – The Oppo A53 gives you options. Depending on your needs, you can select either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
3. Apple iPhone SE 2022: The best budget iPhone
Our Price: £399 (Brand New) – £260 (Good)
Android phones definitely rule the market when it comes to cheap phones, but if an iPhone is a must-have, say hello to Apple’s budget version: The Apple iPhone SE.
Looking for an even more cheap iPhone? Consider buying the Apple iPhone SE 2020 edition instead – in 2023 this phone is much cheaper than its original cost, whilst still carrying all the great iPhone features you love.
Retina HD Display: The 4.7-inch display presents visuals in a resolution of 1334×750 pixels, with enhancements such as a 1400:1 contrast ratio, True Tone display, and P3 Wide color gamut.
Convenient and Secure Access: The traditional Home button with Touch ID makes its return, providing users with a quick, private, and ultra-secure method of authentication.
High-caliber Performance: At its core, the iPhone SE 2022 houses the A15 Bionic chip – the same processor used in the iPhone 12. This powerhouse offers top-tier performance, ensuring that everything from daily tasks to mobile games feels swift and smooth.
12MP rear camera: Features like a six-element lens, Optical Image Stabilization, and the Sapphire crystal lens cover ensure every shot is perfect.
4. Motorola Moto G50: The best budget smartphone for Battery Life
Our Price: £119 (Like New) – £80 (Good)
Motorola has always been a brand centered around putting powerful technology into budget phones. The Moto G50 is one of the best cheap phones on the market when it comes to battery life, with its humble, energy-efficient specifications and adaptive battery features that will help your device last for a full day with no problems.
Display: Boasting a 6.5-inch Max Vision HD+ display, the Motorola G50 ensures an immersive viewing experience. With its 90Hz refresh rate, you can expect smoother animations, scrolling, and transitions, elevating your day-to-day smartphone interactions.
Performance: Driven by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, the G50 delivers seamless multitasking, efficient app management, and a lag-free experience. Whether you’re gaming, streaming, or simply browsing, this smartphone ensures a fluid user experience.
Camera Suite: Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the G50’s versatile camera setup. The primary 48MP sensor captures stunning shots, ensuring rich details and vibrant colors. Accompanied by a macro and depth sensor, the device allows for a range of photographic expressions – from ultra-clear portraits to intricate close-ups.
Impressive Battery Life: A robust 5000mAh battery powers the Motorola G50, ensuring you can go about your day without constantly worrying about recharging. Coupled with adaptive battery technology, the device intelligently adjusts power usage based on your habits, prolonging battery life even further.
5. Xiaomi redmi note 11: The Best Cheap Android Phone
Our Price: £169 (Like New) – £110 (Pristine)
Xiaomi is a brand that has quickly made a name for itself with cheap phones that are stylish, powerful and affordable. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 is a perfect cheap phone for those who demand top-tier features without a hefty price tag.
Display: Experience vibrant colours and fluid motion on the Redmi Note 11’s 6.43-inch Full-AMOLED display, with a crisp resolution of 1080×2400 pixels and a snappy refresh rate of up to 90Hz.
Performance: At its core, the Note 11 boasts an Octa-Core MediaTek Dimensity 920 6 nm processor. With memory options like 256GB storage and 8GB RAM, this phone is ready to handle all your apps, photos, and videos with ease.
Camera: The quad-camera setup on the Redmi Note 11 is designed to capture moments in stunning clarity. The 50MP wide camera, supported by an 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth sensor, promises versatile photography options.
Long Battery Life: Powering the Redmi Note 11 is a robust 5000mAh battery, ensuring you stay connected throughout the day. And when it’s time to recharge, the 33W Pro fast charging ensures you’re back in action in no time.
6. Samsung Galaxy A53: One Of the best cheap Phones
Our Price: £269 (Like New) – £240 (Pristine)
The Galaxy A52 5G brings Samsung’s renowned display technology to the realm of cheap phones. This device offers a well-rounded experience with its versatile camera system and sleek One UI. The inclusion of IP67 water resistance is a rare find in this price range.
Long-lasting battery life: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has a 5,000mAh battery that can last for up to two days on a single charge. This is great for people who are always on the go and don’t want to have to worry about their phone running out of battery.
Large and sharp display: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels. This display is large and sharp, and it makes it great for watching videos, playing games, and browsing the web.
Powerful processor: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is powered by an Exynos 1280 processor. This is a powerful processor that can handle even the most demanding tasks.
Good camera system: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has a quad-camera system with a 64MP main sensor, a 12MP ultrawide sensor, a 5MP macro sensor, and a 5MP depth sensor. This camera system can take great photos in all kinds of conditions, including low-light and portrait mode.
7. Honor 8X
Our Price: £110 (Very Good)
Honor is Huawei’s international-friendly smartphone brand; one that still is fully compatible with Android and the Google Play store. These are cheap phones, considering the technical specs that they carry, and the Honor 8X is no exception.
Display: The Honor 8X has a 6.5-inch FHD+ display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, a pixel density of 396 PPI, and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
Camera: The phone has a dual rear camera setup with a 20-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It also has a 16MP front camera.
Performance: The device is powered by Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset with two quad-core Cortex A53 processors. The GPU is a Mali-G51 MP4.
Battery life and Storage: The Honor 8X uses a 3750 mAh battery, which can easily mean a full day’s battery life for the average user. It comes with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card.
8. Samsung Galaxy A13
Our Price: £150 (Like New) – £80 (Good)
The Samsung Galaxy A13 is an affordable phone that’s really made a name for itself in terms of how many great features are packed in for a low price.
90Hz display – The Galaxy A13 5G is Samsung’s offering that showcases a 90Hz PLS LCD display. This display operates at an ultra-smooth refresh rate, making the transitions and scrolling feel more natural and comfortable to the eye.
Show-stealing camera – Not one, not two, but THREE cameras grace the back of the Galaxy A13 5G. A 50MP wide main sensor ensures your photos are captured in high definition, while the additional 2MP macro and depth sensors provide extra versatility for close-ups and bokeh effects.
Mediatek Processor – The heart of the Galaxy A13 5G is the Mediatek MT6833 Dimensity 700, a competent processor that boasts two 2.2 GHz cores and six 2.0 GHz cores – while maintaining energy efficiency for a longer-lasting battery life
5000 mAh battery – A large battery on a lower-power phone ensures you enjoy extended hours of productivity or entertainment without frequent recharges. And when the time comes to power up, the 15W wired charging capability ensures your device gets back to full power in no time
9. Motorola Edge 30
Our Price: £215 (Pristine)
Ultra-thin – The Motorola Edge 30 is only 6.79mm thick – which for a modern day smartphone, is ridiculously slender. This lets the handset weigh a feather-light 155g in your hand.
Powerful spec – The Edge 30 features a Snapdragon 778G+ processor, 8GB of high-speed RAM, and 128GB of ultra-fast storage. While not the biggest and boldest technology around, it’s incredible just how much power Motorola have squeezed into this skinny little device.
Battery – 4020mAh is smaller than some modern day smartphones, but still more than enough to get an average user to the end of the day. The Edge 30 is even compatible with 33W TurboPower charging, so you could get back up to full in no time at all.
Dual 50MP camera – With a huge 50MP on both the main camera and the ultra-wide lens, your photos and videos will be in stunning high definition no matter what angle you’re shooting. And with a third depth-sensing lens in addition to these two, you’ll be able to get perfect AI background blur in every shot.
10. OnePlus Nord 2 5G
Our Price: £275 (Like New) – £179 (Good)
The OnePlus Nord 2 is a cheap phone that boasts premium features that belie its budget-friendly pricing. The device offers a smooth 90Hz display and a reliable 50 MP camera setup. The OxygenOS interface gives a near-stock Android feel while adding helpful customization options.
Fluid Display – This 6.43-inch Full-HD Fluid AMOLED screen delivers bright and colourful visuals, making every video and game come to life. What’s more, its 90Hz refresh rate ensures ultra-smooth transitions, perfect for any gaming or video streaming needs.
AI Processor – Powering the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor, a formidable CPU that ensures everything runs smoothly. Paired with the ARM G77 MC9 GPU, this device is designed for high performance.
Sony Camera – With a 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor, the Nord 2 5G makes sure you get the finest detail in every picture. And that’s not all – the device also features an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP mono lens for versatile shooting options, and AI processing to make the most of every picture you take.
Great battery – Don’t worry about running out of juice – the 4500mAh dual-cell battery is enough to keep you going throughout the day!
How we’ve chosen our top picks
Expert Reviews: First and foremost, we rely on insights from industry experts who have extensive knowledge and experience in the realm of consumer electronics. Their analyses offer a deep dive into the technical specifications, performance, and overall value of each product.
Customer Feedback: We understand the importance of real-world user experiences. By combing through customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials, we get a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and potential weaknesses of each product from those who use them daily.
Technical Specifications: Beyond the gloss and aesthetics, the underlying technical specifications of a product are crucial. We assess factors like processor speed, battery life, camera quality, and more to ensure our picks are both modern and competent.
Value for Money: Affordability is a key concern for many consumers. We ensure that our top picks provide the best blend of features and performance for their price bracket, ensuring maximum value for your investment.
Brand Reputation: A brand’s track record can be a strong indicator of the quality of their products. We take into account the history, reputation, and reliability of manufacturers when making our selections.
Software and Compatibility: In today’s interconnected world, the software experience and compatibility with other devices and platforms are vital. We evaluate the intuitiveness of the software, updates, and how seamlessly a product integrates with other ecosystems.
Longevity and Durability: A product’s lifespan and resilience against wear and tear are paramount. We prioritize products that are built to last, and every product we sell comes with a 12-month warranty.
Environmental Impact: In an age of increasing environmental consciousness, we also consider the eco-friendliness of products. Factors like energy efficiency, recyclability, and the environmental impact of production play a role in our evaluation.
By combining all these factors, we ensure that our top picks are well-rounded, high-quality choices that cater to a wide range of consumer needs and preferences. Our aim is always to guide our readers towards making informed and satisfying purchases.
Checkout the list: Best Budget Smartphone Under £100